IDF names soldier killed in friendly fire incident in West Bank

Military says Staff Sergeant Natan Fitoussi, 20, left his post in Tulkarm for a brief period and was mistaken for an intruder upon return; army slams publication of unconfirmed reports of soldier's death before family had been notified

The Israeli military on Tuesday named the soldier was killed by friendly fire near the West Bank city of Tulkarm hours earlier as Staff Sergeant Natan Fitoussi.
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  • Fitoussi, 20, was a soldier in the Kfir Brigade and was a resident of the city of Netanya. He was posthumously promoted from the rank of sergeant to the rank of staff sergeant.
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    סמל-ראשון נתן פיטוסי ז"ל
    סמל-ראשון נתן פיטוסי ז"ל
    Staff Sergeant Natan Fitoussi
    (Photo: The IDF Spokesperson's Unit )
    Reports of a soldier hit by fire emerged late Monday, with early reports suggesting there might have been a terror attack. The soldier was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
    The military said the incident is being investigated. "At about 10:30pm IDF soldiers reported hearing gunfire near their location. At first it was believed the shooting originated from Palestinian sources, and a large reinforcement force was dispatched to the scene," IDF's spokesperson said.
    The preliminary investigation showed the victim left his post for a brief period, and was mistaken for an intruder by a fellow soldier upon his return. As a result, he was shot twice.
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    הכוחות בטול כרם
    הכוחות בטול כרם
    IDF forces at Tulkarm
    The IDF said it expresses its condolences to the family and will continue to support them.
    The army also "categorically" condemned unconfirmed reports posted by Israeli media before official confirmation, stressing that family members were not yet notified. "Tweeting without thinking twice is to harm our unity," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said on Twitter.
    Two soldiers from the elite Egoz unit were killed in another friendly fire incident in the Jordan Valley in January.
    Also in January, two Israeli helicopter pilots died in a crash off the coast of Haifa, in northern Israel.

    i24NEWS contributed to this report
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